In the past, companies focused so much on deployment that they forgot about adoption. When they did invest in training solutions they were launched with fanfare, but later updates posed a new challenge. To meet market demands companies are constantly tweaking and improving business processes and software. Now enterprises are looking for flexible, easy-to-use tools which offer consistent guidance across a suite of applications. That’s where digital adoption platforms come in. Let’s look at four challenges of business transformation and how you can address them.
The challenges of digital business transformation
In-person classes and printed user manuals made sense, when software updates and process changes were infrequent. However a huge shift in the last two decades has moved software from infrequently updated native software to constantly changing online web applications. Each new improvement promises a better service or solution for users. Yet each new feature or UI change causes confusion for users, and delays their work. Your users need guidance to get value from the investment you’ve made in the application.
These are four of the barriers to digital transformation that can’t be overcome with traditional solutions
The pace of change is constant
Last year, Cisco commissioned Forrester Consulting to look at how leaders use digital technologies and strategies to transform businesses. Digital disruption is having an impact on every industry. They found that digital business transformation challenges traditional business processes. It also fundamentally changes the relationships between customers and employees. This level of transformation requires constant change in business processes and tools, and employees struggle to keep pace. 52% of business leaders surveyed wanted to increase employee productivity, acquisition, and retention.
Fear of failure means employees resist change
Employees gain a sense of mastery and competency as they become familiar with tools and processes, and giving that up for some new business process management tool is not an enticing prospect. Change poses a threat that they will make mistakes and they risk losing competencies, status, safety, and familiarity, as described in Four Reasons Employees Resist Change. Staff fear failure, and they need training wheels to support them.
Deployment tends to focus on technology and not on staff training needs
As described in the Harvard Business Review, this is one of the challenges of convincing employees to use new technology. When organisations introduce new software, they have erred on the side of focusing on a smooth technological deployment and not enough on software adoption. They lose their return on investment when - instead of increasing collaboration, improving decision making, and creating behaviour change - new systems can frustrate employees. This is when negative sentiment towards change gets seeded, and “cynicism sets in.” Employees will waste time with workarounds and get burned out from frustration.
Lack of standardisation causes problems
Most organisations use a variety of systems and applications. Some custom, some off-the-shelf, and some so customised and altered as to seem like custom applications. This affects user adoption and engagement. This means staff are not able to gain any of the promised benefits from new business processes and applications. Even when organisations introduce unifying Intranet portals, these knowledge sharing centres also suffer from poor employee adoption as well. What a Nielsen Norman report found is that Nielsen Norman found was that employees need guidance and not gimmicks. “Targeted customisation features that are task oriented and streamline workflows are, however, both appreciated and well used by users.”
To meet these challenges head on, larger enterprises are hiring Software Adoption Managers and Digital Adoption Managers to make sure their next rollout is successful. Though not every organization can hire an expert to oversee internal adoption. Often it’s someone in HR or staff training teams who develop training solutions. These creative trainers and instructional designers use a variety of tools but the traditional solutions have their limitations.
- Classroom training is costly to develop and difficult to schedule and deliver to across the organisation. It suits an initial launch, but not the ongoing continual changes a user faces.
- Elearning with multimedia content and screenshots is difficult to maintain and track each time a new system update comes online. It’s not practical.
- Intranets have their own adoption issues, and it’s difficult to know who has seen what information.
- Email is impermanent, and not a lasting resource.
What’s a better solution? A flexible platform built to foster digital adoption, where you can help users right there where they need it; where you can see who has seen and completed the training; and where you don’t have to worry about screenshots being out of date.
Address digital business challenges with a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP)
In a survey of 4,800 executives and managers, Deloitte found that “strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation.” Their research divided the organisations into early, developing and maturing according to how they have adapted to digital trends. The organisations who were digitally mature were four times more likely to provide employees with needed skills than less mature organisations. Other organisations should follow the lead of mature companies and focus on the training needs of their staff.
These organisations fill skill gaps with training delivered “online and on a just-in-time basis.” The best way to do that is right in-app, using a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP).
The Digital Workplace Group says that change management for the digital workplace is an ongoing process. Initially, the change is revolutionary with widespread communications. Whereas after launch the change continues in incremental improvements and is more evolutionary, as business tools and processes improve and mature. Training and communications need to be designed to accommodate this pace of continual change.
Bringing everyone back to the classroom, and building lengthy e-learning programs won’t be appropriate for every new software update or process change. Regarding training, they recommend combining session-based training with a self-service training model for end-users.
In a recent report, “Digital Adoption Platforms: A New Breed of Software Helps Improve User Adoption of New Technologies.” Alan Lepofsky looked at how organisations could address the challenges of digital transformation head-on.
For example, many enterprise organisations struggle with “Yet Another Tool Syndrome” due to the variety of user interfaces in chat, intranets, business applications specific to their industry. On top of that many applications are so highly customised and personalised now that the experience is inconsistent even across an organization. Lepofsky points out that this inconsistency is the enemy of efficiency.
Digital Adoption Platforms - like Inline Manual - offer a solution. Inline Manual’s player integrates into existing applications to provide a personal assistant that offers a consistent guiding hand no matter what application users encounter. These “Digital Assistants” are seamless, context aware, intelligent, and personalised.
Four strategies for implementing a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP)
Choose your DAP based on ease of use
Since the pace of change is constant and evolutionary, interactive training needs to be easy to develop and maintain. The digital adoption platform needs to be flexible and easy to update. Watch this short video to see how easy it is to build rich, interactive tutorials.
Apply marketing and user onboarding practices
To lower the risk and fear of failure, employees need confidence that help is there when they need it. They also need motivation to take the risks to gain the potential benefits. The best place to do this is right within their business process software with interactive walkthroughs and guidance. Look at how commercial SaaS applications onboard first time users, and apply those ideas to your internal marketing plans. Staff need to be sold on the benefits as much as trained in the new processes.
Consider what can be personalized and tailored to user groups and segments
Deployment plans tend to focus on technology and not on staff training needs. Users prefer a self-service self-help support and training. Training support can be delivered just-in-time, in context, where and when users need it. Design a personalised experience which pushes the right content in context clears away the clutter and shows users exactly what they need for their role or goals. See our guide on personalizing user onboarding experiences.
Use the DAP across all systems focusing on tasks and workflows
A lack of standardisation across third-party and customised applications causes confusion for employees. Using a “guide on the side” with in-app help can provide consistent support across all applications. This is where you can introduce task-oriented help and streamlined workflows. For example with the use of tools like the Widget and the Checklist.
We find that many organisations start with us to improve the user onboarding experience of their SaaS application, and later they find they can use the same content for sales enablement, and later staff training. Now, organizations are coming to us directly to augment their staff training programs. Inline Manual gives their training teams the ability to use easy workflows to update content. They can create content that is easy to digest, right there on the screen. They see how they can quickly remove potential blockers and going forward with better approaches for business transformation.
If you’ve got some ideas and you’re wondering what’s possible, we’d love to show you around.